An absorbing, if occasionally predictable, time-travel mystery with a side of romance

FUTURE SHOCK

From the Future Shock series , Vol. 1

A Latina teen with total recall joins four other young Angelenos with special skills on a secret time-travel mission to the future.

Although she has an eidetic memory, Elena Martinez has little else going for her. She's an intelligent foster-care kid about to turn 18 without any foreseeable job or college prospects. When an executive from the Aether Corporation offers her a spot on a short-term project for a great deal of money, she has no qualms about signing on. Her team includes three fellow desperate teens—hotheaded black mechanic Chris, homeless white lockpick Trent, introverted Asian artist Zoe—and Adam, a cute, white science nerd. Their mission is to slip through a time portal leaving them 10 years in the future for 24 hours. They're to collect technology, sketches, and impressions of the future world. But when they end up 30 years in the future and discover that everyone but Adam doesn't seem to exist anymore, the conspiracy theories begin to fly. The author refreshingly swaps teen-lit gender stereotypes in the fairly formulaic but nonetheless satisfying romance: she's the edgy, brooding girl with the heart of gold, and he's the adorable, inexperienced good guy. Those who spot the foreshadowing won't be surprised by the twist, but the story remains intriguing enough to keep reading.

An absorbing, if occasionally predictable, time-travel mystery with a side of romance . (Science fiction. 13-17)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2682-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story.

10 BLIND DATES

Is an exuberant extended family the cure for a breakup? Sophie is about to find out.

When Sophie unexpectedly breaks up with her boyfriend, she isn’t thrilled about spending the holidays at her grandparents’ house instead of with him. And when her grandmother forms a plan to distract Sophie from her broken heart—10 blind dates, each set up by different family members—she’s even less thrilled. Everyone gets involved with the matchmaking, even forming a betting pool on the success of each date. But will Sophie really find someone to fill the space left by her ex? Will her ex get wind of Sophie’s dating spree via social media and want them to get back together? Is that what she even wants anymore? This is a fun story of finding love, getting to know yourself, and getting to know your family. The pace is quick and light, though the characters are fairly shallow and occasionally feel interchangeable, especially with so many names involved. A Christmas tale, the plot is a fast-paced series of dinners, parties, and games, relayed in both narrative form and via texts, though the humor occasionally feels stiff and overwrought. The ending is satisfying, though largely unsurprising. Most characters default to white as members of Sophie’s Italian American extended family, although one of her cousins has a Filipina mother. One uncle is gay.

An enjoyable, if predictable, romantic holiday story. (Fiction. 13-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02749-6

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Mouths have never run so dry at the idea of thirst.

DRY

When a calamitous drought overtakes southern California, a group of teens must struggle to keep their lives and their humanity in this father-son collaboration.

When the Tap-Out hits and the state’s entire water supply runs dry, 16-year-old Alyssa Morrow and her little brother, Garrett, ration their Gatorade and try to be optimistic. That is, until their parents disappear, leaving them completely alone. Their neighbor Kelton McCracken was born into a survivalist family, but what use is that when it’s his family he has to survive? Kelton is determined to help Alyssa and Garrett, but with desperation comes danger, and he must lead them and two volatile new acquaintances on a perilous trek to safety and water. Occasionally interrupted by “snapshots” of perspectives outside the main plot, the narrative’s intensity steadily rises as self-interest turns deadly and friends turn on each other. No one does doom like Neal Shusterman (Thunderhead, 2018, etc.)—the breathtakingly jagged brink of apocalypse is only overshadowed by the sense that his dystopias lie just below the surface of readers’ fragile reality, a few thoughtless actions away. He and his debut novelist son have crafted a world of dark thirst and fiery desperation, which, despite the tendrils of hope that thread through the conclusion, feels alarmingly near to our future. There is an absence of racial markers, leaving characters’ identities open.

Mouths have never run so dry at the idea of thirst. (Thriller. 13-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8196-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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